The client’s symptoms suggest that she is suffering from infective endocarditis. The condition is an infection that affects the heart valves or endocardium. Besides effective treatment that includes parenteral antibiotic therapy and surgical therapy, the patient requires effective follow-up to have a healthy life and prevent the recurrence of the infection.
The follow-up care for the patient will depend on the extent and type of infection, but generally appropriate treatment. After treatment, care ensures the infection is eliminated and does not recur. Notably, follow-up care for the patient will be short- and long-term due to the high risk of recurrent infection. One of the essential short-term follow-up care for the patient is a transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE) (1). The procedure is a type of ultrasound of the heart that will help view how the infection is recovering. The procedure will help the health care provider and patient understand the extent of the infection and follow up on the recovery process. Information obtained from the procedure will show whether the patient needs continued treatment for the infection. While the doctor will also advise regarding the necessary therapies depending on the progress, the patient requires other types of follow-up care depending on the leading cause of the infection.
The nurse should get blood cultures from three different sites before beginning antibiotic therapy. The procedure is necessary to identify febrile illness and initiate short-term treatment. Another essential procedure as part of the process is a physical examination to identify potential congestive heart failure and initiate immediate treatment. The doctor should also perform a toxicity evaluation (2). Notably, the steps are necessary to inform the kind of care the patient requires.
Rehabilitation will help the patient stop abusing the drug since injecting could be the leading cause of the infection. Patient education will accompany the rehabilitation advice since the patient needs to understand the risk factors for her illness. The doctor will explain what she needs to do to prevent future infections. Whenever the patients inject the drug into the bloodstream, she risks injecting the bacteria or other infective agents that could move to the heart leading to the infection, as highlighted by Arregle et al. (3). Thus, if the behavior does not stop, the infection could recur even after successful treatment.
Apart from the short-term follow-up for the condition, the disease management plan should include a long-term follow-up. The procedure should include echocardiography to evaluate valvular and ventricular functions. Therefore, considering the potential impact of the infection on the heart, it is necessary to have a graphic outline of its movement (3). The procedure helps the doctor have a clear view of the heart’s valves and chambers and the heart’s pumping action. The information informs the long-term care and management to prevent complications. The patient should have continued education on recurrence and ongoing observation as part of the long-term follow-up.
Other Allied Healthcare Professionals in The Follow-Up
The practitioner will work with various other allied health care professionals to implement the follow-up plan. A radiographer (or medical imaging technologist) is one of the professionals who will conduct follow-up imaging procedures, such as the transthoracic echocardiogram (TTE). A lab technician will also be involved in conducting relevant tests, such as blood tests. The involved professionals will include the social worker and drug rehabilitation therapists in rehabilitation.
- Gregoric, I.D., et al. “Use of Transthoracic Echocardiogram to Detect Left Ventricular Thrombi.” The Annals of Thoracic Surgery, 2021, 111(2), 556-560.
- Akca, B. et al. “Management of Infective Endocarditis and Long-Term Outcomes of Patients who Underwent Surgery: The Fifteen-Year Experience of A Tertiary Care Center.” Med Science,2020, 9(1), 9-15.
- Arregle, F., et al. “Influence of The Health-Care Pathway on the Outcome of Patients With Infective Endocarditis: Should all Patients be Treated in Referral Centers?” Archives of Cardiovascular Diseases, Supplements, 2022, 14(1),